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April 02, 2014

Looking To Purchase On Lazy Point



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This week some 95-property owners in Lazy Point will receive letters making them an offer that could be hard to refuse.

Would they like to sell their land at pre-storm market values?

East Hampton Town is partnering with the Nature Conservancy on a federal grant application that could provide up to $5.2 million to purchase land and homes in coastal areas that were inundated by Hurricane Sandy.

The Lazy Point Floodplain Protection Program targets properties from around Bayview Avenue north. Property owner participation in the program is entirely voluntary and, although $5 million is nothing to sneeze at, it would hardly begin to cover the costs of all the parcels in the targeted area, which is comprised of a variety of vacant lots, modest homes, larger houses and some beachfront abodes threatened by erosion.

According to Randy Parsons of the Nature Conservancy, all private property owners on Lazy Point east of Napeague Meadow Road are in the conservation area that could be eligible for inclusion in the acquisition program helmed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an arm of the United States Department of Agriculture.

But the clock is ticking. Property owners need to let town officials know they might be interested in selling by Monday and the town's grant application must be submitted by April 18. Expressing interest doesn't obligate the property owners to participation, the letter makes clear. Given the short window of time, Parsons said letters were sent to property owners on Bayview Avenue and Mulford Lane, but others may be included as well.

According to a resolution adopted at the East Hampton Town Board's March 20 meeting, the project is designed to "protect and restore the natural floodplain and its functions, protect ground and surface water quality, protect open space, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, dune lands and vegetation as well as providing public access to the shoreline and add to already protected lands owned by the State of New York in the Bayview Avenue, Amagansett area." The town will work with the Nature Conservancy under its "Coastal Resilience Buy Out Matching Grant Program" and use Community Preservation Fund monies for its portion of the costs, an estimated $150,000.

A second town resolution notes Lazy Point, almost entirely located within the FEMA 100 year floodplain zone, experiences chronic flooding and erosion during coastal storms. The existing pattern of development and use of on-site septic systems "interfere with and disrupt the natural functions of the floodplain and shoreline." The USDA funding will pay for most of the costs for acquisition, demolition, and restoration of private properties in the floodplain.

kmerrill@indyeastend.com

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